Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Armchair Traveller - I'll take you there

Winter, they tell us, is on the way out. Summer campsites are booked, old house touring plans are forming up. My winter of unbridled reading has resulted in three read, five new titles added.

One very great pleasure of reading is arm-chair travelling, and this book which I picked up for two dollars at our library used (read discarded) book store was just the ticket.

The book is called Buildings: A Traveller's Guide. It was written by architecture prof Richard Reid and published by Michael Joseph Limited of London (1980). I have tried everything to contact the writer or the publisher to get permission for what I am about to tell you (but even without permission they cannot question my motives - which are to get all of you to run to your favourite used bookseller and pick up this book!)

Buildings features text and illustrations about 3500 historic buildings, organized by country, region and architectural tradition. It's recommended for the traveller, though at almost 500 pages it might be a bit heavy. But what a great resource for planning, and for background information.

Let me tell you what happened when I delved into this book. I went through what I will call the Armchair Traveller's four stages of acceptance.

First stage - Consternation. "Oh, no, there aren't enough years (or dollars) for me to see all of these places. And I must, I simply must!"

Second stage - Consolation. "Oh well, there are loads of ways for me to enjoy these places - outstanding documentaries and DVD's, books, websites, courses.
me at the Forum, Pompeii

Third stage - celebration. " Well, we have been to a goodly number of these astonishing places". My bookshelves are filled with tourist guides and souvenir volumes from dozens of spots in England
Europe and North America. Time to have another look.

Fourth - Determination. Make a plan to cross places off the must see list. "We will go to Rome. We will spend a week immersed in the incredible complexity of this ancient city and its buildings from the Roman era to the present."

Denis has been there, and he is determined that we will get those tickets in the next year or two.

The Bridge of Sighs, Venice
This is silly but I have to say it. Sorry Richard Reid. Something about the exquisite black and white drawings takes me back to those activity and sticker books of our childhood. Something makes me want to hand-colour the drawings of places I have seen, or find the corresponding colourful sticker to place on its outline. And that makes me want to post a few more photos and copy a few more of these incredible pencil renderings of the world of architecture.

St. Anthony Padua

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

And to emulate my lovely blogger friend Katherine, I have provided you with a link to a song.  I loved singing this when I spent a year with Georgette Fry's 'Shout Sister' choir. It's called I'll Take You There. And Mavis will.

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